Joe Cordina to challenge Kenichi Ogawa for super featherweight title in Cardiff

The 2016 Olympian will bid to become the first world champion from Wales since Lee Selby who held the IBF featherweight title from 2015 to 2018.

Joe Cordina will make his attempt at world honours in front of his home crowd when he challenges Kenichi Ogawa for the IBF super featherweight world title at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff on Saturday, June 4.

It will be the fifth fight for Cordina at the weight having previously competed at lightweight.

During his time at 135lbs, he won the British and Commonwealth titles but decided to move down in weight after 2019.

Since campaigning at 130lbs, 'The Welsh Wizard' captured the WBA continental belt after comfortably outpointing Mexico's Mario Enrique Tinoco in the bright lights of Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

The bout in November of 2019 would be Cordina's last for 16 months as a severe hand injury halted the progression of the Cardiff native.

The 30-year-old returned from the injury in 2021, picking up three wins, the highlight being a knockout win against the American Joshuah Hernandez just 53 seconds into the contest during week three of Matchroom fight camp last August.

Cordina's successful 2021 has now seen his rise to No.3 in the IBF super featherweight rankings, earning him the opportunity for a world title.

"I've dedicated my entire life to boxing and to putting myself in this position," said Cordina. "Now it all comes down to this opportunity, my world title shot.

"It's a lifelong dream of mine to become a World Champion and a stepping stone to securing my family's future and making all of the times missed with them worth it.

"I'll be taking this opportunity with both hands; I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to win and be crowned the new IBF world super featherweight champion. Be ready to see the best Joe Cordina come fight night as I put my name at the top of the division."

Standing in Cordina's way of a first world title is the Japanese Kenichi Ogawa. He claimed the vacant red and gold 130lbs strap after dominating Azinga Fuzile - the man who retired Martin Ward - dropping the South African twice before winning comfortably on the judge's scorecards last November.

Ogawa was the underdog coming into the contest, yet he stepped up on the big occasion in the Hulu Theater, New York with Fuzile tasting defeat for only the second time.

The 34-year-old from Tokyo is hoping to unify in a division that includes Roger Gutierrez - the WBA titleholder - as well as top ten Pound for Pound star Shakur Stevenson who has the WBC and WBO belts.

Shakur Stevenson

While a big clash against Stevenson could be on the cards, Ogawa must first overcome Cordina.

"First of all, I want to thank Mr. Eddie Hearn for this opportunity," said Ogawa. "Hello to Team Cordina. I am disappointed that I could not attend the launch press conference but I'm looking forward to fighting in Cardiff.

"Let's be in our best shape for this fight. But I will be the one to win this fight. See you in a month."

"This is it for Joe Cordina - the opportunity of a lifetime and his moment of truth," said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn.

"Joe has an opportunity to become World Champion in his home city and put himself up there with the greats.

"Ogawa is huge step up, big, strong, and proven as an elite fighter. Victory for both men set up huge unification opportunities - we expect an incredible atmosphere in Cardiff and a great show on June 4."

The undercard will feature fellow British super featherweight Zelfa Barrett who takes on Cordina's former opponent Faroukh Kourbanov for the EBU European title in a fight rescheduled from April.

The Manchester-based fighter will be looking to join the likes of Jason Cunningham, Jordan Gill and Chris Billam-Smith as current European champions.

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